PhD Student Rebecca Oatley

PhD Student Rebecca Oatley

PhD Student

Contact Details


Rebecca is a PhD student in the School of Allied Health and Community at the University of Worcester. She is part of the Association for Dementia Studies.

Rebecca’s PhD research is a qualitative study of women’s experiences of sport reminiscence for people living with dementia. The study is an ethnographic-style exploration influenced by feminist sport sociology, as well as person-centred and relationship-based approaches to dementia care. Her wider research interests include gender, dementia, active ageing, wellbeing, and psychosocial benefits of physical activity.  Her focus for the PhD was underpinned by her career as an elite athlete representing the Severn Stars franchise in the Vitality Super League until 2019.  She competed at international level and was capped at senior level by Wales.

Rebecca’s supervisors are Dr. Simon Evans and Dr. Shirley Evans.

Rebecca’s journey towards her PhD was also influenced strongly by her work with older adults in South East Wales as a qualified social worker working across a range of third sector services. This included experience working in adult sensory loss, dementia, substance misuse, homelessness and learning disability. She is an active campaigner for mental health awareness and has delivered mental health workshops to a wide range of audiences, including schools, young athletes, professionals and emergency service personnel.


  • PhD (University of Worcester, 2017-2021) Title: Exploring the experiences of sport reminiscence for women affected by dementia.
  • MA Social Work (Cardiff University, 2013-2015) Thesis: Exploring the sociology of food in care homes
  • BSc (Hons) Physiology and Psychology (Cardiff University, 2004-2007)

Teaching, Research and Knowledge Transfer

Rebecca has been involved in teaching on undergraduate and postgraduate modules in the School of Sport and Exercise. She also has extensive experience delivering practical workshops and training related to mental health stigma and awareness. Rebecca has shared her PhD research through conference presentations, video presentations, webinars and audio podcast.

Professional bodies and experience

Rebecca is a member of the Leisure Studies Association

Publications and Dissemination

Oatley, R. (2020), (Re)Creating spaces for memory, inclusion, and enjoyment: Ambitious changes for sport, gender and reminiscence. Journal of Emerging Sport Studies' Digital Symposium: Power at Play [Online] Available here

Oatley, R. (2020), In conversation with Becky Oatley: Physical activity, older age & dementia [Podcast] Active Herefordshire & Worcestershire Available here

Oatley, R. (2020), Sport, physical activity & dementia: How women affected by dementia can benefit from sport reminiscence activities. [Online Webinar] University of Worcester - Available here

Oatley, R. (2018), Sport Reminiscence. 13th UK Dementia Congress, Brighton

External responsibilities